GLOUCESTERSHIRE health bosses have had to recruit medical staff from further afield due to the UK’s departure from the EU as they admit staff should be paid more.

Nationally, 50 per cent of new health staff recruits are from overseas and there is growing concern over the difficulty in hiring and retaining workers in the sector.

Concerns over the growing disparity between private and public sector pay were also raised recently as councillors quizzed health bosses over their recruitment strategy.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) asked about the issue at a recent health overview and scrutiny committee meeting at Gloucestershire County Council on November 28.

He also asked health bosses if their experience in recruiting staff has changed since the UK left the EU.

“If you look at the statistics between public and private sector pay,” he said.

“There is quite a big differential when you look at the last couple of years. There’s a differential of about four per cent.

“It seems to me there has to be something in that. The strategy doesn’t mention paying staff more.

“Is that realistic and should it be part of the strategy? How has your experience changed since we left the EU?”

NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board director of people, culture and engagement Tracey Cox said the salary of staff is out of their control as it is nationally determined by pay review bodies.

She told the meeting of the difficult year they have had with industrial action but agreed workers need higher pay.

“We totted up a total of 60 days of industrial action across those different work disciplines which has impacted on care delivery this year.

“We think we are getting to the position for the NHS. We certainly respond to national pay recommendations.

“They are often independently reviewed and the government will respond to those.”

She explained that care sector pay was determined by market rates and that it was a “more complex economic question in terms of what they can afford to pay”.

“Most health and care staff, like most people do, that their pay has eroded over recent years and we definitely know from our staff survey results that there is less satisfaction with pay than there has ever been.

“That is contributing no doubt to some of the challenges we are facing. That is not something we can locally determine.”

She also said health bosses have seen changes in the staff they recruit since the UK left the EU.

“We are seeing staff that are coming from outside the EU as a consequence of those changes,” she said.

“Nationally, 50 per cent of medical recruits came from overseas. That’s a huge number.

“And the aspirations in the NHS workforce plan is to get that down to 10 per cent.

“That would take some years over that 15 year plan to get there. We continue to have that heavy reliance on overseas staff.”

Cllr Hodgkinson asked if health bosses are able to lobby the Government for better pay for staff. And Ms Cox confirmed that they “lobby hard” on that issue.